The holiday season is a busy and joyous time. However, extra safety precautions need to be considered in your home to help make this holiday season safe and happy for you and your family. Chimney Sweeps West offers you the following guidelines for home holiday safety:Choosing a Christmas tree
CONSIDER: There are beautiful flame-resistant artificial trees readily available.
If you must purchase a live tree, there are some very important fire safety points to remember.
- Look for a trunk sticky with sap and ensure that the needles are green, bendable, and are secure to the branches.
- Kick, tap, or thump the base of the tree and see how many needles fall off. If excessive needles fall off the branches, DON’T BUY IT! If the tree is moist, it is less likely to catch fire.
- Cut the base of the tree at a 45-degree angle and place your tree in a container with water. Be sure that the water level is kept above the cut. Spraying the tree with a non-toxic flame retardant is excellent insurance against a tragic mishap.
- The maximum length of time the tree should be left decorated in your home is three to four weeks. When buying decorations, be sure they are “flame retardant” or spray them with a non-toxic flame retardant.
- Inspect the tree daily for dryness. Place the tree a safe distance away from stoves, radiators, heating vents, fireplaces, and any other heat source that might dry the tree.
Ask yourself: It’s 3 am… The smoke alarm sounds… Do you know what to do? Does everyone else know what to do?
Many people believe that they will smell smoke or hear a fire in time to escape. The reality is that you will not – most people are not aware that we lose our sense of smell while sleeping. Having working smoke alarms in your home will cut your chances of dying in a fire by half! It’s like having a firefighter watching over your family twenty-four hours a day.
You need to plan your family’s escape route now, before you need to get out under panicky and scary circumstances. Remember to review your fire escape plan with friends or relatives that are staying in your home.
Keep decorations away from the kitchen stove, fireplace, doorways, stairways, or other major walking paths and/or escape routes. Never attach decorations to or obstruct your fire sprinklers. In the event of a fire, activate your escape plan – get out and call for help from a neighbor’s home.Fireplace Safety
Keep your wood stove door closed and your fireplace screened. Make sure you keep your firebox clean and have your chimney inspected annually by a qualified professional. Make sure that your Christmas stockings are not hung directly above the fire.Check Lighting
Inspect all wiring on holiday lights and discard all defective, worn, or frayed electrical wiring. When decorating your house, trees, or yard, use fixtures specifically designed and CSA approved for outdoor use. Use no more than three sets of lights on any one extension cord and never run electrical cords under rugs. Be sure all lights are turned off before you go to bed or leave the house.
Other Holiday Tips
- While you are buying batteries for holiday toys and gifts, pick up extras for your smoke alarms.
- Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and fire escape ladders make excellent Christmas presents. Can you think of a more caring gift?
- During parties, provide guests who smoke with large deep ashtrays and check them frequently. Empty the ashtrays into a metal container with a lid – NEVER empty them into the garbage.
- Christmas wrapping and decorations can be highly combustible and easily ignited –DO NOT BURN THEM IN YOUR FIREPLACE.
- Before the start of each heating season, have all home heating systems and chimneys inspected and cleaned if necessary.
- When using portable space heaters, keep anything that can burn – including people, pets, and furniture – a safe distance away.
- Do not overload electrical circuits or extension cords.
- The kitchen can be a very busy area. Always remember to turn pot handles to the back of the stove to prevent accidents, roll up sleeves to avoid coming into contact with open flames or hot elements, and do not leave cooking food unattended. Make fire safety a priority in the kitchen.
Everyone loves having a fire in their fireplace, decorations around the home, wrapping paper on gifts, and bright colorful lights on their tree to help make this time of year festive and fun. If your fireplace and chimney have not been inspected yet, give Chimney Sweeps West a call and we would be happy to make sure yours is safe for use this holiday.